Thursday, March 24, 2016

Why do we put a dollop of stuff on stuff?

Dollop is one of those words I always wondered about. What is it? From whence came it? Well, it is a really exciting word.

As a noun, “dollop” means “a shapeless blob of something, especially soft food.”

As a verb, it means “add (a shapeless blob of something) casually and without measuring.”

So says the first pop-up at Google.

Why not just say someone added a spoonful of, say, whipped cream on his/her strawberries? You could even say “a big spoonful” or “a medium spoonful” and have more meaning than “dollop.”

Let’s face it – dollop sounds like what a horse drops. If you’ve never heard a horse drop stuff, trust me. It makes a “dollop” sound when splatting against the ground.

Something to think about the next time you drop whipped cream on your strawberries.

And why is a piece of fried bacon called a “rasher?”

I ran across “rasher” way, way back when I was a teenager and reading books about Bengal lancers and Gordon at Khartoum and other tales of when Britannia waived the rules. Proper British were always taking two rashers of bacon from a warming tray at breakfast.

So why is a piece of bacon a “rasher?”

Well -- A rasher of bacon is a thin slice; rashers were called collops* in the sixteenth century. (Again, the first Google pop-up.)

And, British bacon is not the same as American bacon; no more than Canadian bacon is like American. Canadian bacon I always thought of as “a small piece of ham.” British bacon is more kin to Canadian. And it’s grilled, which in Britain means “broiled.” You don’t get it with a biscuit, because a biscuit is a cookie and a cookie is a biscuit. Or something.

*Good grief! Isn't it enough we have "dollop?" We have to have "rasher" springing from "collops?"

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